One criticism often made of government — at all levels — is that it lacks efficiency. There is certainly some truth to this claim, and in some cases you won’t have to look far, especially when the federal government is spending trillions of taxpayer dollars.

There are a variety of reasons for this, one is that there isn’t always the incentive to achieve efficiencies. Another is that spending huge amounts of money — as in Washington — makes spending much smaller amounts seem inconsequential by comparison, and perhaps, more palatable.

Fortunately, on the local level taxpayers do receive a considerable degree of bang for their buck. Certainly, local government has the reputation for being the most responsive, as its officials often face the same challenges as their constituents. Consequently, we often don’t have to look far to find policies and proposals in local government that reflect efficiency and common sense.

Two have surfaced recently in Defiance.

One is a proposal by the city administration to sell 53 vehicles over a few years and replace them with new, leased vehicles.

City officials and councilmen seem to agree that this will save considerable money as the company pushing this idea (Enterprise Fleet Management) has stated. The company estimates that the savings could reach $320,000 over 10 years. Perhaps, it won’t be this much, but the program makes sense by keeping the city’s fleet fresh and updated.

Another proposal aimed at efficiency is Mayor Mike McCann’s proposed charter amendment combining the city’s planning and zoning boards, thereby giving future developers one less hurdle to clear. The thought is that the board could handle two issues at once, if necessary.

The city’s charter commission should — and probably will — recommend that council put this on the ballot for voters to decide in November.

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